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The Macroeconomics of Testing and Quarantining

Author

Listed:
  • Martin S. Eichenbaum
  • Sergio Rebelo
  • Mathias Trabandt

Abstract

We develop a SIR-based macroeconomic model to study the impact of testing/quarantining and social distancing/mask use on health and economic outcomes. These policies can dramatically reduce the costs of an epidemic. Absent testing/quarantining, the main effect of social distancing and mask use on health outcomes is to delay, rather than reduce, epidemic-related deaths. Social distancing and mask use reduce the severity of the epidemic-related recession but prolong its duration. There is an important synergy between social distancing and mask use and testing/quarantining. Social distancing and mask use buy time for testing and quarantining to come to the rescue. The benefits of testing/quarantining are even larger when people can get reinfected, either because the virus mutates or immunity is temporary.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin S. Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo & Mathias Trabandt, 2020. "The Macroeconomics of Testing and Quarantining," NBER Working Papers 27104, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27104
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    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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